Daily News Archive
Crop Acreage Continues To Grow Despite Strengthening Anti-GMO Movement
(Beyond Pesticides, September 7, 2004)
Throughout the world, farmers' use of genetically modified (GM) crops
continues to grow steadily. The Farm
and Ranch Guide reported that at the World Sugar Farmers' Conference,
Monsato's Molly Cline, PhD presented figures showing that over the past
seven years, biotech crop acreage increased by double-digit percentages
each year. In 2003, biotech acreages totaled over 167 million acres,
over 15% over 2002. These numbers represent seven million farmers in
18 different countries.
The majority of these acres came from soybeans, which accounted for
55 percent. Next was cotton, with 21 percent, canola at 16 percent,
and corn 11 percent. USDA and Monsanto data indicated 81 percent of
all soybeans planted in 2003 were GM varieties, along with 73 percent
of all cotton acres and 40 percent of the total corn acres.
These huge rises come despite the fact that the growing popularity
of the organic industry and the strengthening movement against genetically
modified organisms (GMOs), both worldwide and here in the U.S. A number
of California counties have recently decided to put a measure banning
genetically modified crops on the county's November 2 ballot. (See Daily
News 7/15/04) Across Europe, consumers are extremely wary about
genetic engineering, and there is virtually no market for GM foods (See
Daily News 5/20/04).
Biotech industry representatives have long maintained that genetically
modified organisms can increase crop production, improve yields and
lower pesticide use - and thus are beneficial to farmers, the agricultural
economy and the world's hungry. But a report published last year actually
showed that the planting of 550 million acres of genetically engineered
(GE) corn, soybeans and cotton in the United States since 1996 has increased
pesticide use by about 50 million pounds.
Additionally, recent studies have found that organic food is not only
safe but also
a healthier alternative to conventional agriculture, which contains
high residues of pesticides. A University of California at Davis study
published in the February 26, 2003 edition of the Journal of Agricultural
and Food Chemistry, found greater nutritional attributes in organically
grown food compared with produce grown conventionally (see Daily
TAKE ACTION: Protect our land and food from genetically
engineered ingredients and crops by buying USDA certified organic products.
Lobby your supermarket to label GM food. Support local efforts to prohibit
growing GM crops. Contact your U.S.
Senators and U.S.
Representative, U.S.EPA Administrator Michael
Leavitt, and USDA Secretary Ann
M. Veneman. For more information, see Beyond Pesticides' Genetic